Grow Yourself and Your Travel Business with Tools that Work!
Written By: Chad Burt, Co-Owner of OutsideAgents.com
It turns out my Dad was right. There really are only three ways to do anything: “My way, my way, or the highway.” Oops, wrong three…
“You can lead, follow, or get out of the way.” Or, put another way, “fast, easy, or cheap: pick two.” My Dad had a lot of ways to make this important point.
Any way you put it, everything in business comes down to three ways to do anything: You can do it yourself, do it with some help, or pay a pro to get it done for you.
Why is this so important? In business, especially startups, we focus most of our energy on figuring out what to do, and then we scramble to figure out how to do it. The source of the struggle most often stems from finding balance in another golden triangle: Time, money, and expertise (pick two). We call this the TME cost/investment, and we’ll refer to it throughout this article.
I can’t tell you how much we understand that triangle. We know it so well that we built our entire program around the concept of lead (do it yourself), follow (do it with help), or get out of the way (get it done by a pro) with an emphasis on getting the most from your TME (time, money, and expertise).
Let’s use our award-winning Managed Marketing System as an example of the three approaches in terms of your TME.
Specifically designed to empower those wanting to do it themselves, support those that want some help, and connect agents with industry-leading vetted pros, MAGmms helps our agents balance their TME resources to maximize ROI (return on investment).
In order to understand how MAGmms helps agents maximize ROI, we must first look at the three options that we have when it comes to getting things done in our business.
Do it yourself
There are so many great resources out there that you can use to create and deliver professional grade email and other digital marketing. The best part is that you don’t have to be a professional to use these resources. One such resource that I can think of is Canva.
With great features and a gigantic library of templates, Canva is an amazing source for DIY graphics, and other creative assets.
Canva also offers lots of inspiration and ideas. It’s a playground for the imagination where you can get ideas for almost any creative asset that you can think of — whether it be an Instagram post, Facebook header, logo/brand, email announcement, and even a QR code. Once you find a template, you can then go to work on creating. Depending on how quicklyyou learn, you can create a professional and engaging marketing asset in just minutes.
The problem is that Canva offers limited templates and assets unless you have a paid subscription. To bridge the gap, we provide our agents FREE access to our META platform. Similar to Canva, the Marketing Exchange for Travel Agents (powered by TIMA) offers thousands of social media images and posts, hundreds of templates, over 600 destination guides, and many other unique marketing assets. With, Canva, this resource allows you to do it yourself. Simply find a template, personalize it with your message, and deliver it.
Total TME finds your time to be your greatest investment in the DIY path. You’ll definitely save a lot of money, but you’ll need a little expertise, and a willingness to learn, to pull it off. Use pro resources from your host or consortium as a short cut to amazing results. All you need is a little elbow grease.
The time cost is relatively high if you go the “Do it yourself” route. Both money and expertise costs are low. In fact, with the META platform, your out of pocket cost is virtually zero. What about the results? Well, they can be spectacular. It all depends on how much time you invest. Also, as you gain expertise, your time cost will decrease. Plus, you will have better results.
So, who is the Do-It-Yourself option good for? This option is perfect for agents who don’t mind spending the time to learn a new skill if it saves them money.
Do it with some help
Another option is to have someone help you. With our solutions, you can “click it and forget it” as our in-house team of marketing pros delivers a branded email every week to each of your clients. The email features a link directly back to your website!
If you want to do it yourself, but with some help, you can choose to modify each marketing piece that goes out. This allows you to customize your marketing materials, if you have time. If not, no worries. The marketing pieces are ready as-is. So, here you are getting just a little help from our pros.
The best hosts provide mentoring to help agents discover what combination of resources is needed to achieve sales and marketing objectives. In addition, OutsideAgents.com agents have access to our MAGmms Tool Box, which brings together social media, images, and education to dramatically amplify the results agents see from using the automated Managed Marketing System. The experts at OutsideAgents.com do the heavy lifting with these tools. Agents just choose the specific tools, educational materials, and promotional assets needed to build their own professional grade custom marketing materials. When you think of getting some help, ask yourself if the pro is supplementing what you can’t do, or complimenting what you can. This will help you understand their value to you.
Total TME is well balanced with each being in the low to medium range. In our experience, the results are strong since they leverage your expertise to make sure you get the most out of your time and money.
Leave it to a Pro
Sometimes, we have a project or goal in mind that’s within our reach but beyond our grasp. We have the vision, but our TME doesn’t stack up. Too little time or expertise means that we have to invest a little money. We help agents invest in the right place at the right time.
Just like OutsideAgents.com, your consortium or host should have relationships with 3rd party experts on myriad topics who can provide enhanced services at a low, negotiated rate. We took it a step farther by creating partnerships with the industry’s leading marketing organizations to deliver their products and services at or near cost!
Fiverr is another great example of a resource that you can use to get professional assistance with a variety of tasks for your business. We advise going with a PRO on the platform for a truly “hands-off” experience. Fiverr PROs are trusted professionals at the top of their respective fields, at least for what you’re paying. Over time, you’ll get to know a few and feel pretty confident handing over things like copywriting, website development, online marketing, and graphic design to them. When the TME is right, do it, but do it the right way.
Regardless of which pro you chose, don’t just hand over the reins to your business. A pro is only as valuable as your ability to direct them. Much like your attorney, they should be providing you with the information you need to make informed decisions. Also, as with an attorney, the bills and results can vary widely depending on your input. While we vet our partners and provide one-on-one mentoring to help in the management process, not all hosts and consortiums do. So, be sure to do your homework, avoid popcorn gurus, and keep an eye on the all-important ROI.
The net result is that you can use a professional to create an effective strategy and deliver the tactical elements to make it work. When properly managed, a professional can make all the difference in your business building efforts, including marketing.
Total TME favors the benefits of having money to save time. Watch out, though, you’ll need a little expertise so you can guide the professional to build what you need rather than everything their expertise can create. It’s easy to let the bill get away from you but the results can be amazing. After all, that’s why they call them professionals.
Regardless of the path you choose, basing your decision on your TME analysis is critical. As a rule of thumb, if a path checks two or three boxes on the TME checklist, it’s the best way to go. Don’t use a pro just because it’s easier or saves time. Use them because they have expertise you lack and time is more important to you than saving money. Don’t use our Managed Marketing System just because it’s free. Use it because it lets you invest your time in closing sales. Use it as a great foundation for bigger and better things. The fact that it’s free is a good thing, not because it’s free, but because it gives you freedom to use your money in a better way.